Monday, March 06, 2006

Interesting Yawn Facts

Last night while conversing with Kristin about the physiological elements of yawning she pointed out to me that when humans yawn we always pull our tongues back in our mouth. In stark contrast to that, most animals we could think of stick their tongues further out when they yawn. Why the heck is this?

I did a little research on my good, ol' friend the internet and found out a couple of interesting facts... or as close to facts as you want to take them since I did get them from the internet of all places. It seems that depending upon the animal a yawn can mean different things.

For dogs, a yawn is not a sign that it is tired. Instead it is a sign that they are conflicted in making a decision. So instead of being tired a dog's brain is actually hard at work trying to figure out what the heck it should do in a given situation. If you think you have a really, really tired dog you, in fact, have a highly indecisive pet instead.

Cats, on the other hand, are actually relaxed when they yawn. They, however, are not ready to go to sleep. If you'll notice they often yawn after they wake up. This is because they are now waking up and are communicating to other cats in their area that they are awake, still relaxed, but aware. In other words, if you were thinking of pouncing on me and waking me up, don't try it--I'll claw your eyeballs out.

Humans, at least in my experience, just yawn when they're tired. Truth be told, I've yawned about five times while writing this and actually feel a little more tired. Odd... yet somehow interesting.

Interesting as this all may be, I still haven't found the answer as to why humans suck their tongue in when they yawn while animals usually put theirs on display. Of course this means I will have to perform more internet research. Unfortunately stupid things like a job keep getting in my way and taking up my time.

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